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Monday, February 16, 2009

Can anything good come out of February? (Part II)


Confessions of a Shopaholic


Director P.J. Hogan gave us the enjoyable My Best Friend's Wedding back in 1997. Isla Fisher is a beautiful actress who has proven, especially with her deranged performance in 2005's Wedding Crashers, that she is a comedic force to be reckoned with. Together, they will probably deliver an enjoyable piece of fluff, albeit one high on cliché.

The International


At first glance, this looks like just another paranoid thriller starring the overexposed Clive Owen. However, the man behind it all is none other than Tom Tykwer, the German director who gave us such unique films as the fate-entangling Winter Sleepers, the bizarre romance The Princess and the Warrior, and most notably, the kinetic thriller Run Lola Run. Thus, this one is high on my must-see list for the year.

Friday the 13th


Director Marcus Nispel was behind the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which I highly recommend you never see. This is a remake of the unpleasant and not particularly good original Friday the 13th of 1980. I’m thinking there’s a lot more girl-killing here, which always makes for great entertainment. Like Mike Neslon, host of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” once said, “You think a lot of guys who make movies have issues with women?”

Two Lovers


This is writer/director James Gray’s third film with the endlessly interesting Joaquin Phoenix. I have not yet seen last year’s We Own the Night, but 2000’s The Yards was a well-crafted if not particularly memorable film. Two Lovers is in limited release.



I’ve been hearing great things about this Italian crime epic; alas, I shall have to await the DVD release, as it appears to be showing only in New York and L.A.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Walt Disney Cops a Feel

I am not in the habit of besmirching someone's name, but occasionally I feel inclined to make snarky comments about something I see in a video. Click on the following link and pay attention around the four-minute mark:


Personally, I think I would go for the belly or the waist in such circumstances, but then again I've never had to try to keep a lady from falling face-first off a dock. Still, could there be a more awkward way to steady a tipsy woman?

I'd love to be privy to the conversation that took place when all the cameras and microphones were gone. Maybe it would sound like a scene from Raging Bull. "Did you feel my wife? Did you feel my wife?"

By the way, where were my mermaids? I remember when I was little and went on the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride thinking that I really was in the deep, so I can only imagine how thrilled I would have been if I had seen mermaids! Would've been way better than animatronic squids.

I wonder how many youngsters hit early puberty on Disney's Nautilus. Submerge a boy, surface a man.

And I love how things in this old film devolve from "we can use this new submersible technology to learn and explore and bring peace and progress as humanity" to four straight minutes of scantily clad women with fin attachments doing water ballet.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Can anything good come out of February? (Part I)

This is the time of year when a whole lot of cinematic crap is excreted from the recta of the major film studios. But there might be a gem or two in there. (Wow, that sounds like it could be a bit painful, huh?)

I'm going to take a look ahead at what's coming to theaters this month and offer my thoughts on each one. And for those of you who find interest in such things, I referenced the New Testament in my title. Whoever tells me what book, chapter, and verse first gets a cookie! Two cookies if you can tell me the name of the person credited with uttering the original quote, which was possibly the best joke ever made about Jesus Christ, at least until the Chitty Chitty Death Bang episode of "Family Guy." (http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi3023962137/)



The Pink Panther 2


Remember when Steve Martin was funny? You might have to think back awhile. Did Planes, Trains & Automobiles really come out more than a decade ago? I'll give a few points to any movie for featuring the adorable Emily Mortimer (watch Disney's The Kid), but overall my thoughts on this franchise can be summed up thusly: Rest in peace, Peter Sellers. If you can.



Call me a cynic, but this looks like another lame Matrix rip-off (which some claim to be itself a Dark City rip-off). The marketing for this one includes some of the lamest TV spots I've ever seen. Marketers used to reserve quotes attributable to no one for the back of the video. Now they're using them on television ads.

He's Just Not That Into You


I must admit to enjoying the trailer for this film--the first time I saw it. It actually gave me a new perspective on the male-female romantic relationship. Now I've seen the TV ad about a hundred times, and I just can't wait for this to come and go. On its own merits, it appears to boast a decent cast with some good lines, but also some tired cliches. However, having never watched HBO's "Big Love," I have only just discovered Ginnifer Goodwin and would probably watch this movie just for her.



A group of Star Wars geeks go to Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of The Phantom Menace for their dying friend because he might not live to see its release? Curses that this movie is not showing in my area! Curses! (Yes, I'm a Star Wars geek.)



This is it, people. This is the most exciting movie coming out this month. This is the one I'd put my money on to be not only the best movie of the month, but one of the best of the year. Director Henry Selick is one of the three brilliant minds responsible for giving us the milestone classic The Nightmare Before Christmas (along with creator/producer Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman). Coraline looks to be just as fantastic and creepy and beautiful. If you get to the theater once this month, this is the one I suggest seeing.